Houston Matters

Have smartphones made our lives better or worse?

Apple released the iPhone 16 years ago today. Now smart phones are everywhere. Are we better off?



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On this date in 2007, Apple released the first iPhone. Our world was never the same.

Smartphones are ubiquitous now. Anything you want to know — there's an app for that. Anywhere you want to go — take your phone with you. And it's (mostly) helpful, especially if you can hop onto Wifi.

But for all its uses, there are those who believe the smartphone represents a real societal downfall. We've raised and become part of an entire generation that, too often, looks down at its phones and not up at the world around it. We're more connected than ever and yet never so isolated. Having so much information at our fingertips is great — when the info is accurate. Being so connected is a welcome convenience, but the world also expects us to be connected all the time.

In the audio above, we discuss how the smartphone has affected Houston over the last 16 years and whether we're getting any better at handling the pros and cons of such technology at our fingertips. Joining us to talk it over is Dr. Moshe Vardi, a professor in computational engineering at Rice University, where he leads an initiative on technology, culture, and society.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer & Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer and manager,...

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